Not knowing these words is like showing up without armor to a jousting competition—you’re going to get owned.
So before you go to bed tonight, make sure you can rattle of the definitions to the following words (it’ll help if you can also rattle them off upon waking).
Do you like museums? Probably not, but if you do, then you’re all about the aesthetic: that which is considered beautiful. So the colors and the proportions of a Da Vinci painting definitely pass the aesthetic test.
But aesthetic enjoyment is not all about a weekend at the museum. If you are into making yourself beautiful—and this doesn’t just refer to the ladies—you are into aesthetic enhancement (which is not to say you weren’t fine to begin with).
Why does the SAT love this word? Well, the reading passages tend to describe beauty as it pertains to art and literature, so aesthetic becomes a handy word to know.
Straight and to the point (like this entry). That is the meaning of succinct.
This word traces its roots to one who used to enter a church and smash all the icons. Since people don’t do that anymore (did they ever?) and even if they did it wouldn’t feature prominently on the SAT, you are right to guess that it has taken on a different meaning. Specifically, an iconoclast is one who goes against convention usually in a highly startling manner.
I usually choose Lady Gaga as an example, because, hey, everybody knows her and she is definitely one who goes against convention in a startling manner. For those who are more into art, Jackson Pollock is the iconoclast of 20th century art. For those who don’t know, he’s the guy who hurled paint at the wall and called it Art.
A person who is not an expert in art (yes, another word relating to art—shows you what the SAT is thinking) is a dilettante. I have a friend who loves classical music but couldn’t play the first two notes of chopsticks even if his life depended on it. He is a dilettante. And I, who like art (not sure, if this actually came through my writing) struggle to draw stick figures. So we are both dilettantes: people who have a decent understand of art or music, but are far more artists or musicians ourselves.
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About Chris Lele
Chris Lele is the GRE and SAT Curriculum Manager (and vocabulary wizard) at Magoosh Online Test Prep. In his time at Magoosh, he has inspired countless students across the globe, turning what is otherwise a daunting experience into an opportunity for learning, growth, and fun. Some of his students have even gone on to get near perfect scores. Chris is also very popular on the internet. His GRE channel on YouTube has over 10 million views. You can read Chris's awesome blog posts on the Magoosh GRE blog and High School blog! You can follow him on Twitter and Facebook!
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